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Chinese Composite Bow


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#1 k98er

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 07:54 PM

Anyone know where to buy one and what kind I should get? I want to learn to shoot it as well and I read somewhere on this site that they sell smaller versions for beginners. Will I have to take classes to learn to shoot it or will trial and error suffice? Any help is much appreciated.

#2 Liang Jieming

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 09:05 PM

Depends on the type of bow you want. If you want a true-blue Chinese traditional recurve bow, you'll have to get it from Beijing. Only one authentic tradional chinese bow maker left in the world.

If you're a beginner, get a simple modern recurve. Bow prices can range anything from a USD100 to 10,000. I would suggest a relatively cheap Korean recurve with wooden stock as your first bow. Try Samick as they make very good bows. The basic wooden recurves don't cost that much.

Depending on which country you live in, you'll need to check to see if you need a license to buy and own a bow as they are considered dangerous weapons. You can most certainly learn how to shoot on your own but you'll need to first read-up on the proper shooting techniques, not so much so that you can hit targets, but rather so you won't injure yourself. Bows can be dangerous if you don't use them properly as the potential energy stored in the bowstring when drawn can snap fingers or give you serious abrasions on your bow arm, or you may lose an eye if you don't know how to string a bow properly. All this is of course on top of the fact that you may hit someone accidentally with your arrow.

If you give me your e-mail, I'll send you a few basic files on proper bow handling and shooting though you'll still need to be very careful.

I would suggest you find a proper place to practice and start with a "light" bow. Don't try bows in the draw weights you read in the posts here as they are military archer range draw weights. Go with something in the 20-35lb range at the most. Good enough for shooting the standard 30m to a maximum of 90m range in olympic competition though obviously if you have a lighter bow, you'll need more arc to hit further targets. So a heavier bow would allow more level shooting for further ranges but if you've never shot a bow before, more likely than not, you won't have developed the set of muscles in your arms needed to draw the heavier bows. You'll need to train your muscles up for that.

You'll also need to know your drawlength, based on the length of your arm to get the right height of bow for you.

Hope that helps.

#3 k98er

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 11:26 PM

Depends on the type of bow you want.  If you want a true-blue Chinese traditional recurve bow, you'll have to get it from Beijing.  Only one authentic tradional chinese bow maker left in the world.


Well I was hoping for a traditional Chinese bow but knowing this, I probably won't be able to obtain one until much much later

If you're a beginner, get a simple modern recurve.  Bow prices can range anything from a USD100 to 10,000.  I would suggest a relatively cheap Korean recurve with wooden stock as your first bow.  Try Samick as they make very good bows.  The basic wooden recurves don't cost that much.


Would you mind providing a few links so I have an idea of what bow to get? I googled (ok, yahooed) Samick, they're an Australian company correct? I live in the U.S. Do they ship that far?

If you give me your e-mail, I'll send you a few basic files on proper bow handling and shooting though you'll still need to be very careful.


k98er@hotmail.com :)

I would suggest you find a proper place to practice and start with a "light" bow.  Don't try bows in the draw weights you read in the posts here as they are military archer range draw weights.  Go with something in the 20-35lb range at the most.  Good enough for shooting the standard 30m to a maximum of 90m range in olympic competition though obviously if you have a lighter bow, you'll need more arc to hit further targets.


Yeah, I'm only 16 and not very active. Usually the only exercise I get is walking around school. :D

Hope that helps.


much, thanks a lot

#4 Liang Jieming

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 11:32 PM

Ok, a quick reply before I go for lunch. Will send you the files after my tummy is taken care of.

Samick is Korean though they just opened a production plant in China.

#5 Kenneth

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 11:46 PM

Yeah, the Koreans seem to be the people who produce recurves for the world market.
Having a steady enough arm for precise point targeting is a hard thing....even just holding the bow perfectly still without drawing it is impossible really due to muscular micro-movements.
Try even holding out your thumb at arm length side-on and aim your eye accross it and you will see slight movement.
Its good fun though! I set some targets out to 60m so when I hit it I was quite satisfied. I probably wont repeat it without dozens of attempts, but it was enough to keep me trying. 32lb seems to drop arrows in a cluster at this range well enough but a single man could probably stand still and wait for me to use up my arrows with a fair chance of not being hit! ;)
Still, only had it one week so far.
Lovely things, even if a rifle is much more consistent.
(I hope to get a second hand 150lb crossbow, or a new 100lb crossbow for comparison shortly).

Jieming..feel free to e-mail me some pointers too! You have my address.
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#6 浪淘音

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 03:57 PM

i'm currently collecting materials to build my own Chinese recurve bow in the spring.

Chinese recurve bows changed constantly throughout history. Shang dynasty recurves were extremely long with an asymetrical design while Tang recurves were non-static and only around 45 inches to 50 inches long.

the one i'm making is a non static recurve. about 50 inches long. i was thinking of making one closer to a Han dynasty design with static tips but i figure the bow is hard enough without trying to attach extra wooden limb extentions

may i ask what purpose do you want one for? shooting or just collection?

if you want one for shooting. Csaba Grózer makes many bows that can pass for different Chinese bows of various dynsaties, he also makes a Ming/Qing era Static recurves

i know a place that makes Chinese recurves 100% to the design specifications of Ming/Qing bows but he charges 2,300 dollars and you have to wait two years

oh, just a little sniggle about terminology. "composite" can refer to any bow that is simply made out of more than one material. recurve bow is the more proper term

This is a picture of my 60 pound "Mongol" recurve, for all intents and purposes, could pass for a Chinese recurve

Edited by 浪淘音, 08 September 2005 - 04:10 PM.


#7 k98er

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 07:18 PM

may i ask what purpose do you want one for? shooting or just collection?


both, but mostly shooting

i know a place that makes Chinese recurves 100% to the design specifications of Ming/Qing bows but he charges 2,300 dollars and you have to wait two years


eh, being an unemployed teenager, I can't afford to spend more than 200 dollars on a bow

just a little sniggle about terminology. "composite" can refer to any bow that is simply made out of more than one material. recurve bow is the more proper term


oh, I'll remember that next time

This is a picture of my 60 pound "Mongol" recurve, for all intents and purposes, could pass for a Chinese recurve


looks pretty cool

#8 Liang Jieming

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 11:02 PM

Ok, I'm reposting a part of my e-mail to Kenneth on the advantage of the thumb draw over the 3-fingered draw based on my own thoughts though I myself still can't master the thumbdraw yet and still shoot mainly with the 3-fingered draw.

"The thumb draw is intuitive actually.

Pick anyone who's never been taught archery and/or
never seen the proper draw and give him/her a bow.
He/she will draw the string with thumb and either 1 or
two fingers... either that or just grab the string
with all 4 fingers! hahahahaha

Yeah, it's pretty hard to learn. Thumbs are weak.
The advantage in the thumb draw is that you can use
shorter recurve bows ie. mounted archery. The
European 3 finger draw doesn't work for short bows
like the mongol bow and is only useable for longer
recurves or the longbow. Quite simple really. Your
fingers will get pinched by the string the shorter the
bow gets. The shorter bow also becomes more sensitive
to the angle of your bowstring so you'll want less of
an inbalance in the top and bottom parts of the string
above and below your drawing hand. Just imagine the
extreme with a really ridiculously short bow, your
fingers will get really pinched and the imbalance in
the bowstring would cause the arrow to fly upward
because there is just that extra bit of string on the
lower portion from the straighter part due to having 2
fingers below compared to just 1 above your arrow."

#9 浪淘音

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 09:41 AM

both, but mostly shooting
eh, being an unemployed teenager, I can't afford to spend more than 200 dollars on a bow
oh, I'll remember that next time
looks pretty cool

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if your budget is 200 dollars. you might want to think something like a modern korean bow. that is, if you don't mind the small size (nothing bigger than 45 inches) and low draw weight (which is relative i guess, i consider anything under 60 to be "light" but thats because one of my bows 110 pounds)

my girlfriend uses a modern korean bow. for what it is, its good for beginners

#10 Kenneth

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 06:26 PM

try e-bay or a local equivalent. You might be able to get a kit (arrows & quiver etc.) for 1/2 or 1/3 the price in auction.
there are second hand ones about and the Korean style recurve has replacement arms & parts availible if need be.
Just check condition before bidding.
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#11 浪淘音

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 01:43 AM

also

despite the fact that thumb rings and recurve bows are synonymous with each other (both came into existence around the same time in Shang China)

i do not recommend using a thumb ring in the beginning. it creates alot of horrible habits i've seen in beginner archers and makes nocking the arrows extremely awkward (for beginners that is)

in fact, after your thumb gets accustomed to pain. alot of archers stop using the thumb ring altogether

i personally have not used a thumb ring in two years and i use thumb draws (the "Chinese " draw and "Mongol" draw) exclusively

#12 Boarhuntr

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 07:09 AM

also

despite the fact that thumb rings and recurve bows are synonymous with each other (both came into existence around the same time in Shang China)

i do not recommend using a thumb ring in the beginning. it creates alot of horrible habits i've seen in beginner archers and makes nocking the arrows extremely awkward (for beginners that is)

in fact, after your thumb gets accustomed to pain. alot of archers stop using the thumb ring altogether

i personally have not used a thumb ring in two years and i use thumb draws (the "Chinese " draw and "Mongol" draw) exclusively

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Tao,
Any way you can post illustrations or pictures of thumb rings being used ? I've been pondering how one uses a thumb ring, and it just sounds very awkward to me. I've always regarded the three finger draw as the only way to draw a bow. I never heard of a thumb ring or thumb draw until I visited this board.
I didn't know Chinese used composite bows. What kind of materials did they (we) use ? I know the Mongolian bow is a combo of wood and animal horn because lumber is so scarce in the steppes.
In martial arts one of the basic ways to disable someone is to grab the thumb and break it, so I regard the thumb as a major achilles heel. Whoever thought of using it to draw a bow was either a sadist or a genius. What advantages does a thumb draw have anyway ?

Boarhuntr :unsure:

#13 Liang Jieming

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 10:23 AM

Read my post above on the advantage of the thumbdraw.

#14 浪淘音

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 02:22 PM

Tao,
   Any way you can post illustrations or pictures of thumb rings being used ?  I've been pondering how one uses a thumb ring, and it just sounds very awkward to me. I've always regarded the three finger draw as the only way to draw a bow. I never heard of a thumb ring or thumb draw until I visited this board.
I didn't know Chinese used composite bows. What kind of materials did they (we) use ?  I know the Mongolian bow is a combo of wood and animal horn because lumber is so scarce in the steppes.
In martial arts one of the basic ways to disable someone is to grab the thumb and break it, so I regard the thumb as a major achilles heel. Whoever thought of using it to draw a bow was either a sadist or a genius.  What advantages does a thumb draw have anyway ?

Boarhuntr   :unsure:

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some scholars credit Shang China for inventing it (the recurve bow i mean)

as far as i'm concerned, studying Chinese culture without studying the history of Chinese archery is like studying western civ and skipping Rome.

heres a Shang era pictograph of a recurve bow

Posted Image

Also, of all the places that used recurve bows, China is probably the easiest place to build one as far as resources go (where else are you going to find horn, woodcore, sinew and fish glue within a mile radius of each other).

Ancient Chinese archers also drew the heaviest bows. The Tang archery exam had a horse archery syllabus where you had to shoot a 92.5 pound (around 42 KG) at gallop

i suggest reading this book

Posted Image

Chinese Archery by Stephen Selby (closest thing to a white hero China will have along with John Rabe) :lol:

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Liang Jieming's post on thumb draws is excellent, you should read that

the idea that the three finger Euro draw is superior is just Eurocentrism (just like the idea that the long bow is a match for a recurve)

Edited by 浪淘音, 11 September 2005 - 02:33 PM.


#15 Mei Houwang

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 03:08 PM

Wouldn't the longbow be about the same as a recurve? They both had about the same draw weight.




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